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'We raised the bar in big style' - Whild
9:39am Wednesday 9th October 2013 in Reports
AMARI Morgan-Smith scored twice as Harriers roared into second place in the Skrill Premier table by storming to their biggest win of the season.
Kyle Storer and Jack Byrne also hit the target in last night's 4-1 win at Aggborough to help chop down Forest Green Rovers in a match in which three players were sent off during a lively second half.
Midfielder Al Bangura and defender Aarran Racine were given their marching orders for the visitors while Harriers’ substitute James Dance was also shown the red card.
Tuesday night’s win, after two successive 0-0 draws, leaves Steve Burr’s boys eight points behind leaders Cambridge United.
Although it was a resounding victory, Burr’s assistant Gary Whild and Byrne, a 25th minute substitute for injured Callum Gittings, both felt Harriers have still to hit top form.
Whild said: “We keep saying we’re not doing as well as we can and I think we can do better. We showed that in this match. We raised the bar in a big style.
“With the lads we’ve got, and the quality, then we’re going to be there or there abouts. We’ll keep improving, we know that.”
Byrne said: “I don’t think we’ve still reached our heights. I think there’s still a lot more to come from us and I think we showed that in the second half.
“At times we can still be a little bit sloppy which we need to sort out sooner rather than later, but I think on the plus side we’ve scored four goals and that’s been coming.
“We’ve had a lot of chances throughout the games we’ve played so far, but we’ve just not taken them. I think we just need to be a bit more clinical in that area.”
Burr’s high-riders went behind on six minutes when goalkeeper Nathan Vaughan unconvincingly punched away a deflected shot by Danny Wright which led to poor defensive play that allowed former Harriers striker Matthew Barnes-Homer to fire home.
It ended the Aggborough rear-guard’s record of three matches in a row without conceding a goal.
Rovers lead lasted just six minutes before skipper Storer powerfully headed home a pin-point corner from Gittings.
Harriers went ahead in the 65th minute when Morgan-Smith set up the opportunity for Byrne to register his first goal of the season.
A couple of minutes later Rovers were reduced ten men when Bangura was dismissed for a second yellow card.
It got worse for the visitors five minutes later when Morgan-Smith cut inside and curled in a stunning shot past goalkeeper Sam Russell from 20 yards.
Harriers, unbeaten in their last four games, completed the scoring on 88 minutes when a handling offence enabled Morgan-Smith to hammer in a penalty off the underside of the bar.
"It was nice for Amari to get a couple of goals because, if you look at his overall game, he was working his socks off all night,” said Whild. "That's your reward if you're prepared to put the work in. He's a fantastic player for the team."
The game ended on a sour note when Dance, an 88th minute substitute for Morgan-Smith, was sent off along with Racine following an ugly bust-up in the fifth minute of stoppage time.
Harriers: N. Vaughan 7; L. Vaughan 6, Grimes 7, Gowling 7, Jackman 7; Storer 7, Fowler 6; Gittings 6 (Byrne, 25, 7); Lolley 7 (Angus, 74, 5), MORGAN-SMITH 8 (Dance, 88), Blissett 6. Subs not used: Lewis, Malbon.
Forest Green: Russell; Hodgkiss, Racine, Pilkington, Stokes; Bangura, Klukowski (Vieira, 73), Forbes, Kelly; Wright (Mangan, 70), Barnes-Homer (Norwood, 82). Subs not used: Bulman, Asafu-Adjaye.
Referee: Kevin Johnson (Devon).
Attendance: 2,244 (129 away fans).
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